Late December

Merry Christmas. It's hot, and windless.

 These two are happily growing in a large plastic pot.
Petunias and Helichrysum

Thursday 25th December - Christmas Day

I've already spent two hours in the Willow Tree Garden, pulling out pansies and cutting them up for mulch (have tested out my new Christmas Womans Work gardening gloves - they are inspiring. I've had the hoses on - some of the specially watered places are looking heaps better. I've thundered through the Grand Sonata (as one does, on Xmas day), and have started the Xmas jigsaw (3000 pieces) - What a lovely day.

Friday 26th December - Boxing Day

Happy boxing day. Today there are TWO cricket matches starting - yippee for gardeners with radios! Also I have found a very shady place which needs a major gardening overhaul - it's the start of the Apple Tree Garden, by the long-suffering clothes line. The Yellow Banksia rose is now totally out of control in here - spreading everywhere, threatening to topple over several sturdy posts. I am not emotionally connected with my clothes lines, but I think this rose has had its day. It was cutting grown, and has been here for six years. It could be banished to the hen house to drape and smother this rustic building.

As I sit and write a bellbird is close by outside drinking nectar from the big bronze flax flowers. He is vocally lazy, singing just the first note of his five note arpeggio birdsong. Well, I'd better get another cup of tea and face the day - seize the moment (and the secateurs) - or maybe just drift into a chair outside with more Xmas food.


It's way too hot to be in the garden. I've been trimming and clearing in the above mentioned shady place, but I'm not sure at all what to do with the Banksia Lutea rose. So I have retired inside to watch cricket, continue the attack on the jigsaw, and garden-think about this small triangle of grass with washing lines and grossly overgrown roses.

Cat in the Jigsaw Box

Saturday 27th December

There is a gardening illusion on these hot endless summer days - it's easy to sit in the shade somewhere with a book, look around and think that everything is well organised. It's a false sense of gardening security, a holiday at home feeling, where the only important thing to do is to put on the hoses and water the pots. Early in the morning with the first cup of tea, writing in the diary, it's hard to feel any urgency. Let alone think of terribly important things to so and write them in a list. But thinking of lists takes me back to my very first retirement list, - there were rhododendrons still to be shifted - is it possible to feel guilty while on holiday? Hee hee...


It's hot and windless. I've semi-trimmed the Banksia rose (hedging my bets, since I'm not totally sure the washing line should dictate my garden plantings). I'm going back outside now, but will definitely be working in or alongside the water race. Back soon.

Actually I’m back within minutes - it's too hot, and I can't just slosh up and down the water race pulling out weeds from the steep house-side bank without a bigger plan. Like - what am I going to do with the bare sloping dirt? Weed mat? Plantings? Stones? Or do I give up and order it to be sprayed every fortnight? Deep questions which cannot be answered on a hot (29 degrees) day.

Sunday 28th December

What shall I do first today? It's hot again, no wind thankfully. Should I return again to the water race/ I pulled out more major weeds yesterday late in the day, but still don't know how to handle the sloping bank. We'll see - back soon (maybe).

Back for lunch... I've been trimming the lower branches of the Willow Tree, and shifting rhododendrons into their new sympathetic positions underneath. The sun is hot, the water has been gurgling past, and I've really enjoyed my morning (and I've cleared up all the tree rubbish).

Right - it's 4 pm and I am the rhododendron saviour. Three misplaced specimens have been shifted into the Willow Tree Garden where they are basking in warm shade as I write. Two of them have left rose-sized holes in brightly sunny spots - this means I can buy two new rose bushes! I've weeded a bit more by the water's edge, and have also "seen" a better and enlarged shape for the end of the Willow Tree Garden. I can also "see" the shape of the Willow itself, having pruned some of the lower thinner branches. I have also sawn down a Pittosporum to make room for the new arrivals. With chopped blue pansy mulch spread around this garden should be absolutely beautiful next spring, since it has now been connected to the garden irrigation system. Yippee!

 I've enjoyed creating this new garden area.
The Willow Tree

Monday 29th December

It has been a perfect digging day - overcast and quite a bit cooler. I've half dug the latest enlargement of the Willow Tree Garden, and may be allowed to buy some plants from the nursery as a sort of Xmas present to myself. I've also taken lots of photos, and listened to the cricket. I've been a bit lazy, actually.

Tuesday 30th December

I should have finished the digging yesterday. Today the hot cloudless weather is back, although there was a little welcome rain last night ("a couple of millimeters if you're lucky" to quote Stephen). There is still one rhododendron squashed into a bucket to replant, and a so-called ruby Astelia to shift to the newly dug edge. The ruby Astelias are really disappointing here - as young plants they are a silvery wine colour, very stylish, then when they grow they end up a scruffy dull green. Today I have about five different things I feel like starting, all at once! Hopeless. Almost as hopeless as the cricket.


I won't talk about the cricket. I can, however, be proud of a morning spent digging. And since the sky has turned a little overcast I have been taking photos again - wobbling into the giant Gunnera with camera strapped to wrist, and lurching down the water race trying to surprise the duck family (unsuccessful). I am also attempting to stitch together a giant wide panorama. Hmm...

 This is the view from the house decking towards the pond paddock.
The House Borders

Ha!! I am a digging legend (and a photography legend). And our neighbour wants to show off his chipper by feeding it all the tree rubbish that I can't burn. I have laid newspaper and some mulch on the newly dug bit. The Wedding Cake tree is probably going to be shifted (hope that's OK). I may also shift some overcrowded Abraham Darby roses into here - wrong season for moving, but I'll give them a hard pruning and lots of water. I have gone apres gardening rather early, but hey - my choice. Today I am a gardening achiever.

Wednesday 31st December

I honestly think I am a more serene gardener. I am not racing around in a mad rush mentally. I think I have spent the last few years rushing around too much. I seem to be better behaved. Ha! What about some New Year's resolutions? I must try to retain this calmer inner peace. And I should stake the dahlias, and look after my tomatoes. Time for a cup of hot coffee. I may not garden at all today - we'll see.

And so the year 2003 ends - the oddest of years. Gardeners of the world - take care in the coming year. Wear gloves and sun block, and don't mulch your favourite secateurs.